Thirteen people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) were reported from 10 states.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), CDC and state and local officials investigated the outbreak linked to sprouted non-peanut nut butter produced by JEM Raw Chocolate (JEM Raw) in Bend, Oregon.
Likely source identified
Epidemiologic information identified this brand of sprouted nut butter as the likely source.
All 10 ill people interviewed reported exposure to a nut butter or nut butter spread in the week before illness onset, and eight specifically identified a JEM Raw brand sprouted nut butter spread.
Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) bacteria was formerly known as Salmonella Java. It does not cause paratyphoid fever, enteric fever, or typhoid fever.
JEM Raw Chocolate recalled its entire line of sprouted nut butter spreads because of potential contamination with Salmonella in early December.
The nut butter spreads were distributed nationwide in retail stores and through mail order.
They were sold in glass jars in sizes ranging from 1.25 to 16 ounces.
However, after a ten-day inspection by the FDA and other agencies, all JEM Raw products and facilities came back negative for Salmonella and the factory was running for Christmas.
The firm said while it was ‘unfortunate’ the recall took place, it strongly felt it ‘was the right thing to do’.
Long shelf life
Illnesses dates ranged from July 18 to November 22 and in age from less than 1 year to 79.
62% of ill people were male and among 11 ill people with available information, none were hospitalized, and no deaths were reported.
The CDC said the recalled nut butter spreads have a long shelf life and may still be in people’s homes, recommending consumers, restaurants, and retailers do not eat, serve, or sell any of the affected products.